Years and years ago, before there was a Alexander or Zoë or Benjamin or Miriam, or even a Rachel, Andrew and I went to Jordan for a summer to study Arabic. Technically Andrew was studying and I was simply a "trailing spouse" but I consider it "our" study abroad (just like I consider his PhD "ours"; I get that it's not but it certainly feels like I put in enough work to earn an honorary one).
It was a wonderful newly-wed adventure, but I probably would have gone completely stir-crazy had we not happened upon the most wonderful of flat-mates, another young couple and their super adorable two-year-old son.
Crystal became one of my best friends that summer. We somehow managed to go from strangers to confidants in a matter of weeks (days?). We shared a bathroom, a washing machine, a kitchen, a house—all without driving each other too terribly crazy (at least, I hope not). Crystal taught me a lot about how to be a good wife and mother and friend.
And then study abroad ended and we found ourselves back in the States, separated by thousands of miles. Harsh. So we've been stuck blogging (and instant messaging) to keep in contact.
At least we're both Mormons, so, naturally, have ties continuously pulling us back to Utah (though neither of us grew up there). We've met up in Utah several times over the past eleven years. The most recent time was just a few days ago (lucky us)! Her family was down visiting their extended family for Thanksgiving so they took some time to come visit us.
We let our ten children play together:
Aside from Captain E, who was born before Andrew and I were married, I've somehow consistently managed to have a baby approximately six months after Crystal. I even went ahead and had Benjamin prematurely so I could fully follow in her footsteps (since she had "Cheetah" early about eight months before I had Benjamin prematurely).*
If we lived any closer, I'm sure our kids would be great friends: Rachel and Gigi; Miriam and Peach; Benjamin and Cheetah; with Zoë and Alexander flanking Hammy.
My life wouldn't be the same without Crystal in it! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit us!
Zoë, poor girl, fell off the slide (pictured behind us). I'm not quite sure how it happened because she's climbed up that slide successfully a million times, but somehow she end up face first on the ground with a bloody nose and a mouthful of mulch. She keeps talking about "people coming up and I fall down" so I'm not sure if there were just too many kids scrambling around and she got spooked or what.
She was pretty sad when we sat the kids (and our husbands) down for a group picture and I was so distracted that I forgot to take off my nursing cover (Crystal is wearing a nursing cover infinity scarf, which I asked for for Christmas so that I can be classy in pictures when I forget to take off my nursing cover). When I asked her how her face was at bedtime she said it felt "good and happy." But she periodically complains about how her nose hurts and she keeps picking at her scratches and making them worse, so we're trying to keep a bandaid on it as much as possible.
So yesterday I did this:
And no one could take her seriously for the rest of the day.
* So I was a little worried about my pregnancy with Zoë after Crystal's difficult miscarriage experience.